Most people assume that if we die without making a will, then everything will automatically pass to our husband/wife/partner. Actually, that may not be the case. There are specific rules about when and who your assets pass to, and unless you know all the rules, you may be surprised by what’s going to happen.

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Civil Partnerships were introduced in 2005 for same sex couples (as they were unable to gain legal rights from marriage at that time). In 2018, a co-habiting couple, Rebecca Steinfeld & Charles Keidan, won a legal battle for the right for heterosexual couples to also form civil partnerships.  This law has now come into effect for 2020. Ms Steinfeld said their wish to form a civil partnership came from a "desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, with a focus on equality, and mutual respect".  Rebecca and Charles have now formally formed a civil partnership themselves.

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In the UK you can make a will leaving what you like to who you like.  That means you can also exclude people who would normally expect to inherit from you.

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What is an executor?

In your Will, you must name the people you wish to appoint as 'executors'.  Executors are the people who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and for sorting out your estate when you die.  They will need to apply for a Grant of Probate, collect all the assets of the estate, deal with all the paperwork and pay any debts, taxes, funeral expenses and administration costs out of money in the estate.  They will then be responsible for transferring any gifts and legacies to the beneficiaries named in your Will.

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Are you risking your children’s future by doing nothing?

In your Will, you can nominate someone to be a legal guardian for your children, just in case the worst happens and you die before they reach 18.

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